AES plans solar power project to power copper mines in Chile

AES Gener SA, a unit of Virginia-based AES Corp., is asking for a permit to build the solar power plant in Chile’s Antofagasta region where BHP Billiton Ltd. and state-owned Codelco operate copper mines.

BHP, Anglo American Plc and other mining companies will reportedly invest almost $80 billion in Chile through 2013 to overcome a global copper shortage, boosting the need for energy in the Atacama Desert. AES supplies about a third of the energy in northern Chile, according to the article.

AES Gener reportedly also plans to invest $2.5 billion in Chile over the next five years to boost power supplies in the country.